That old cliché “never judge a book by its cover” may be true, but it doesn't mean we can't judge the actual book covers. And, because eBooks follow different guidelines than print books, there are some key points you need to know to ensure that your digital book looks both appropriate and professional. Here are six essential tips to finding eBook images:
Tip 1: Make An Image Shopping List
eBooks come in many shapes, sizes, and formats, which means there are no rules that apply across the board when it comes to the number of images you’ll need. If you’re publishing a novel, you’ll only need a picture for the cover—and maybe small graphics for the chapter headings—so the image you choose should immediately evoke the feel of the content. When your book comes up in Amazon’s or Google’s search results, for example, the thumbnail of your cover should be simple enough so that it’s easily visible.
Marketing materials and instructional eBooks, however, may feature one or more images on every page. In this context, the images are meant to illustrate, emphasize, or clarify the words. You can also use images to create headers, footers, sidebars and attractive calls to action.
If you’re creating this kind of eBook, follow these guidelines to make sure you have a good balance of text and images:
- Use graphics to highlight the most interesting or important points.
- Add diagrams or other visuals to explain difficult concepts.
- Create graphs and charts to help your readers visualize and compare data.
Tip 2: Know Your Sizes
When it comes to image quality and resolution, bigger is always better. For eBook covers, it’s important to remember that every publisher has its own requirements. For instance, Amazon recently updated their minimum cover width to 2,820 pixels, but other eBook publishers have much smaller minimum widths.
In general, choose images that are at least 3,000 pixels wide. While e-readers come in several shapes and sizes, a 6 x 9 aspect ratio will ensure that your cover can be modified to fit a variety of formats. Images within your eBook can be any size or resolution, but you’ll want to make sure that the image file size is 5 megabytes or less so they load easily on slower Internet connections.
Pixels per inch (PPI) is another important consideration. Make sure that all your images have at least 300 PPI. Higher PPI is even better because it means that your images will scale to larger screens without losing clarity or detail.
Your images should be PNGs or JPEGs. Some digital publishers prefer JPEGs, but many accept PNGs as well. Amazon, for example, requires a 1,400-pixel-wide JPEG of your eBook cover. Always check the guidelines of individual eBook publishers.